WTSWTM: Snippets and translations from Astros’ early season
It is time for another episode of What They Said, What They Meant. This off-day version is filled with more quotes for the Astros taken from chron.com (Spit!!) and translated from baseball-speak into English by your blog meister.
Jed Lowrie after the Astros won the third game of the A’s series.
- What he said. “The most important thing you said there was avoiding a sweep. It’s always nice to beat your former team, but for this club, it was more about avoiding the sweep. That’ll give us some good feelings going into the off-day, be able to enjoy it.”
- What he meant. “Hell, yes I like beating my former club. Of course it is confusing when you are helping your previous former team beat your former team. Kind of like when you see your reflection in a mirror, which is reflected in another mirror and on and on. But that was just a cherry on top of the sundae of avoiding the sweep. The last few years this team would have gone down and started a long losing streak. We are not going to let that happen this year.”
Luis Valbuena after hitting his third homer of the season on Sunday.
- What he said. “Not surprising. We have a lot of people who can hit a lot of home runs. Everybody is making their adjustments. I’m not trying to hit the home runs. We truly have a good team. I’m just trying to connect with the ball, and thankfully it goes out of the ballpark.”
Luis Valbuena after hitting his fourth and fifth homers of the season on Monday
- What he additionally said “No, no, no I’m not surprised, that’s why I work in the cage and the practice. I’m looking for cutter. He throws me the pitch I’m looking for and I (was) aggressive with the pitch.”
- What he meant both times – “The operative word here is ‘surprised’. I’m not surprised at what I can do. I think everyone else may be surprised, because all I was expected by the media and the fans was to be better than Matty D and his .586 OPS in 564 ABs last season. Talk about setting the bar low – that bar is underground.”
Tony Sipp after getting the win Monday as part of 4 great relief innings (not counting Joe Thatcher‘s uninspiring appearance).
- What he said. “You can tell everyone out there has confidence. You can flip a coin and put any guy out there at any given time. And you know, it’s like a friendly competition: see who can be the best guy out there. Hopefully we’re all out there sitting on ones at the end of the year, high fives, trying to see who can get down to (an ERA of) point-zero something. It’s one of those things, like winning is contagious — successful bullpens kind of feed off each other also.”
- What he meant. “I did not go there, but last year’s bullpen was contagious also – as in ebola or bird flu deadly disease contagious. Sometimes I thought that Chad Qualls and I were the only pros in the ‘pen last season. This time I don’t wince when they bring someone in the game. Well maybe Thatcher…”
Asher Wojciechowski after following up a shaky first start with a nice relief effort.
- What he said. “I just executed better pitches. My slider was sharper and I’ve just been working on keeping my arm path shorter rather than getting long. When I get long things tend to stay up in the zone and my stuff isn’t as crisp. It was nice to have a good outing and definitely just want to keep it going.”
- What he meant. “Yeah, sure, it had to do with my arm path. (Wink wink) Maybe it had to do with my first major league appearance and not being able to sleep the night before and having so much adrenaline coursing through my body I couldn’t keep the ball below the waist if I was throwing baseballs filled with lead.”
Dallas Keuchel after winning Saturday with 6 innings of 2 hit ball against the Angels.
- What he said. “There are a few pitches I’d like to have back, but overall the cutter was actually pretty good tonight. It’s nice to see the cutter there. I’d still like to clean up the two seamer a little bit, but other than that I was mixing up pretty well.”
- What he meant. “Remember that part to the theme song in ‘Shaft’ – where Isaac Hayes sings back and forth with his backup singers ‘They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother – (Shut your mouth). But I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft – (Then we can dig it)‘? That is how I am feeling right now. The Angels led the majors in runs scored last season and after making them look anemic I talk about how I can improve. I’m feeling like a bad mother right now.”
Manager A.J. Hinch on how the Astros will handle the Josh Fields activation when no one in the bullpen looks like they deserve to be replaced.
- What he said. “We have a tentative plan and I’m not going to tell you.”
- What he meant. “You would be right if you said General George Patton never had a tentative plan. He had a plan even if it seemed impossible. I’m just being a bit of a jerk because the last time I talked to Jeff Luhnow about Fields he said ‘I have a plan and I’m not going to tell you.'”
Chad Qualls after Mike Trout launched his 2nd homer of the game on Friday to put away the Astros.
- What he said. “Right before the pitch I just told myself, ‘Don’t get too crazy with it and accidentally hit him by going down and in. That little inkling caused me to kind of pull it and I ended up throwing a sinker more or less down. That’s kind of his wheelhouse. I just didn’t execute the pitch that I wanted to. I felt like I threw the ball real good. It just really didn’t work out.”
- What he meant. “You know that long par 3 at your local course that is a 200 yard carry over the water? You know how as soon as you start swinging you say to yourself ‘don’t hit it in the water’? You know what comes next right? Same thing.”
A.J. Hinch has decided to not skip pitchers when there are days off . He is keeping to a five game rotation instead of a five-day rotation, which pitchers like Dallas Keuchel don’t agree with….
- What Keuchel said. “I know some teams, like Cleveland, I know (ace Corey) Kluber pitched on five days rest instead of five games’ rest. I guess it’s up to the team. Nobody really asked me anything. I would have liked to have gone five days, but I think we have plenty of good starters here that we can just roll over.”
- What Keuchel meant. “Gee, I wonder why I picked the reigning Cy Young award winner who I out-dueled in the opener as my sterling example of who pitches on 5 days rest? Front office and manager are you getting the hint?”
- What Hinch said. “Obviously you can talk to them, but they pitch. I know some guys like to work on regular rest. Extra rest has never been known to hurt somebody. It’s not really a negotiation as to when they pitch.”
- What Hinch meant. “At the end of the day – there is only one lineup card and only one guy who fills it out. That is under my job description and I’m not ceding it to the pitchers.”
Collin McHugh on the higher utilization of his cutter (40% of the time since August last season).
- What he said. “I think it’s a versatile pitch. That’s probably why I throw it more, because I can shorten it up, throw it 88-90 (mph) to lefties up and in. I can make it a little bit bigger, little bit slower to righties, throw it down, 85-87, get a little depth to it. All the same grip. I can front door it to righties, I can back door it to lefties. So it’s just it’s not necessarily I like it more than my fastball, it’s just more versatile in different counts. So yeah, if the percentage has gone up, it’s because when the situation calls for it, I feel really comfortable with it.”
- What he meant. “Yeah, I’m a bad mother right now too.”
Bonus Quote. Evan Gattis after finally hitting a home run.
- What he said. “Great. I just really wanted to salvage a hit. Loose and wristy, I know (A’s reliever R.J. Alvarez) was throwing 95-plus (mph), so I just wanted to be nice and easy to it. … I felt like this team has been really supportive this whole time. What are you going to do, try harder? To me, if I’m really beating myself up — I mean, I’ll be mad — but if I’m really beating myself up, I feel like that somewhere in there it’s telling you that you’re not doing your best, or at least (not) giving your best effort. And attitude and effort is about all you can control in the game.”
- Your turn: What you think he meant……